Training and communication are each integral parts of an organizational change management initiative undertaken in conjunction with ERP implementation. While many organizations like to distinguish between these two components, they naturally overlap. Training can even be thought of as a communication tactic in itself.

ERP training can be leveraged as not only a way to educate employees but as a way to communicate with employees about the ERP project on a whole. Following are five ways to incorporate more communication throughout ERP training:

1.   Communicate the importance of change – Communicating the rationale for change and the value of the ERP implementation will encourage employees to attend training sessions and actively participate. Employees will most actively listen to what is immediately relevant, so it’s important to explain both how to perform a particular task and also why to perform it. Employees and end-users need to understand how their particular tasks fit into the processes of the organization as a whole.

2.   Communicate consistently – Communication and training should be consistent and ongoing throughout an ERP implementation and beyond. End-users can quickly forget what they’ve learned if refresher training sessions are not held regularly. Also, business processes and ERP system usage requirements often evolve so training sessions should be held preceding and following any significant change.

3.   Communicate early – Organizations should communicate with end-users as early as possible. Not long after the initial communication of announcing a new ERP project, the project team should begin communicating about training. This means the project team needs to begin planning training schedules and training content as soon as the organization makes the decision to invest in a new ERP system. At the beginning of an ERP implementation, it’s important to communicate both organizational goals and training goals as well as how these align. Lower employee resistance is one benefit of upfront communication.

4.   Communicate and listen – Listening to end-user feedback is an essential part of communication. During ERP training, organizations should conduct regular surveys to measure end-users’ attitudes toward training materials and training formats.

5.   Communicate with executives – ERP training does not exclude executives.  Executives need to understand how to use the ERP system as well as how to take advantage of the capabilities that support their organization’s needs. Communicating with executives about software functionality encourages them to actively support the ERP project, and executive buy-in can encourage buy-in from the organization as a whole.

While nearly all organizations undergoing ERP implementations engage in some sort of training, many of these organizations do not allocate sufficient time, money and resources to perform training that goes beyond transactional how-to’s. The best way to view ERP training is not as a stand-alone deliverable but as one more way to engage employees throughout implementation. Every component of organizational change management should be based on communication and training is no exception.

To learn more, download our 2013 Organizational Change Management Report. Also, visit our On-Site ERP Training page to learn more about how our independent ERP consultants can help your organization effectively train its employees.

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